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Virginia at War, 1862

William Davis

Publication Year: 2007

As the Civil War entered its first full calendar year for the Old Dominion, Virginians began to experience the full ramifications of the conflict. Their expectations for the coming year did not prepare them for what was about to happen; in 1862 the war became earnest and real, and the state became then and thereafter the major battleground of the war in the East. Virginia emerged from the year 1861 in much the same state of uncertainty and confusion as the rest of the Confederacy. While the North was known to be rebuilding its army, no one could be sure if the northern people and government were willing to continue the war. The landscape and the people of Virginia were a part of the battlefield. Virginia at War, 1862 demonstrates how no aspect of life in the Commonwealth escaped the war’s impact. The collection of essays examines topics as diverse as daily civilian life and the effects of military occupation, the massive influx of tens of thousands of wounded and sick into Richmond, and the wartime expansion of Virginia’s industrial base, the largest in the Confederacy. Out on the field, Robert E. Lee’s army was devastated by the Battle of Antietam, and Lee strove to rebuild the army with recruits from the interior of the state. Many Virginians, however, were far behind the front lines. A growing illustrated press brought the war into the homes of civilians and allowed them to see what was happening in their state and in the larger war beyond their borders. To round out this volume, indefatigable Richmond diarist Judith McGuire continues her day-by-day reflections on life during wartime. The second in a five-volume series examining each year of the war, Virginia at War, 1862 illuminates the happenings on both homefront and battlefield in the state that served as the crucible of America’s greatest internal conflict.

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky

Series: Virginia at War

Front cover

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pp. vii-x

Virginians emerged from the year 1861 in much the same state of uncertainty and mild confusion as the rest of the Confederacy. One major battle at Manassas or Bull Run and a smaller affair at Ball’s Bluff in October had both been crushing Southern victories, and humiliating defeats for the Union. Except for for Ball’s Bluff, the last five months of the year had been a time ...

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Land Operations in Virginia in 1862

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pp. 1-15

During the Virginia campaigns of 1862, two men made their military reputations: Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. Three other men saw theirs demolished: George B. McClellan, John Pope, and Ambrose E. Burnside. McClellan had the distinction of rising phoenixlike from the ashes of the Peninsula Campaign only to fall from favor following his almost ac-...

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Virginia's Industry and the Conduct of War in 1862

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pp. 17-36

In the second year of the war Confederate troops in Virginia endured both the enemy at the front and the inefficiency of the Confederate War Department at the rear. Sometimes there were more supplies to be obtained from the enemy on the battlefield than from the Confederacy’s rear depots.1 Battlefield literati wrote that planters took better care of common slaves than ...

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Virginia's Civilians at War in 1862

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pp. 37-53

When the new year of 1862 dawned, Virginians could look forward with a mixture of relief and trepidation. The enormous state had lost 24,000 square miles in October 1861, when forty-eight counties in the northwestern sec-tor seceded from the state, coming under Federal protection. Given that the sentiment in most of those counties was decidedly Unionist, there was ...

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The Trials of Military Occupation

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pp. 55-69

The process of going to war involves three beliefs. The first is that some external enemy is intolerable in his philosophies, policies, and actions. Whether the perceived enemy is a Bolshevik, a capitalist, an unbeliever, or an abolitionist, the process is the same. The second belief is that this enemy can be easily overcome, because he is evil, or undeserving, or of weak moral ...

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Richmond, the Confederate Hospital City

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pp. 71-91

In July 1862 the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, was still re-covering from the Peninsula Campaign, which saw a massive Union army under Maj. Gen. George McClellan approach to within a few miles of the city before being pushed back down the peninsula to Harrison’s Landing. A reporter for the Charleston (S.C.) Mercury had returned by train to the ...

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Virginians See Their War

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pp. 93-122

On September 13, 1862, more than a year after the Confederate government established itself in Richmond, Virginia, the capital city finally welcomed its first illustrated newspaper, the Southern Illustrated News. At last, after nearly fourteen months of war, civilian readers would finally enjoy access to something Northern audiences had long taken for granted: regularly ...

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Virginia's Troubled Interior

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pp. 123-137

The year 1862 opened inauspiciously for Union and Confederate forces facing each other in the far reaches of southwestern Virginia. During the previous year of conflict, little of a military nature had occurred in the region compared to the action that took place in the northwestern and central portions of the state. Area citizens had little direct exposure to the ...

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Lee Rebuilds His Army

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pp. 139-154

No battle had stressed Robert E. Lee more than Antietam. Sixteen of Lee’s brigades had not arrived when Gen. George B. McClellan attacked astride the Hagerstown Pike at dawn on September 17. Three of the Confederate commander’s nine divisions were still en route from nearby Harpers Ferry. Lee faced a foe more than double his strength when the fighting commenced ...

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Diary of a Southern Refugee during the War, January-July 1862

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pp. 155-227

Refugee life in the second year of the Civil War was laborious for Judith Brockenbrough McGuire, her feeble minister-husband, and her two step-daughters. For eight months after abandoning their Alexandria home, the McGuires had made temporary residences with friends and neighbors in the Clarke County and Winchester areas. They departed Winchester on ...

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 229-233


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pp. 235-243

E-ISBN-13: 9780813172842
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813124285

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2007

Series Title: Virginia at War